Nevertheless Table of Contents

Greg Bechtel and I co-edited Tesseracts Twenty-one and our theme was optimistic speculative fiction. After working very hard for months to craft a call for submissions, put it out, read submissions, narrow them down, narrow them down further. Greg and I live in the same city so we were able to meet in person to discuss the anthology as a whole and individual stories, and thank Gawd for that. I don’t know how we’d have come up with the Table of Contents otherwise. There’d have been an anthology worth of emails involved I’m sure LOL

Once we had the Table of Contents all finalized Greg and I had one more in-person meeting to figure out the title.

It took several hours, and then several emails back and forth afterward, but then the perfect title just stood out. The obvious title. The one that had been staring us in the face the whole time only, for some reason, we’d been too blind to see it.

And we named the anthology:

Recently, in an email explaining this title I said something like this (edited for clarity but still using blockquote because it’s pretty),

“…one of the best reasons for doing an anthology of optimistic future this year was because of the current political situation, and other relevant social and political movements ongoing in the world. It’s been a really tough year (no matter which side of the political or social spectrum you land on), but ‘Nevertheless’ we try to remain optimistic despite the darkness. Nevertheless, we don’t give up. Nevertheless, yes, we persist.

The stories in this anthology of optimistic SF are some of the darkest optimistic stories you’ll ever read but, nevertheless, they are optimistic. And they are awesome.”

I stand by that. And these are those stories:

1. “Inside the Spiral” by Dorianne Emmerton
2. “Pin and Spanner” by Pat Flewwelling
3. “Red” by Alison McBain
4. “Tera & Flux” by Leslie Van Zwol
5. “A Breath for My Daughter” by Jason M. Harley
6. “Steve McQueen and the Hope Particle” by Gavin Bradley
7. “On Reading to the End” by Buzz Lanthier-Rogers
8. “Missed Connections, Mactaquac” by James Bambury
9. “Pirates Don’t Make Amends” by S. L. Saboviec
10. “A Walk in the Woods” by R.W. Hodgson
11. “Hill” by Ryan Creighton
12. “Anhedonia” by Meghan Bell
13. “A Room of His Own” by Ursula Pflug
14. “It’s in the Eyes” by Jerri Jerreat
15. “Across the Seas of Sand” by Jason Lane
16. “Lt. Anderwicz Goes Applepicking” by Natalia Yanchak
17. “With Two Left Feet” by Lisa Timpf
18. “A Threadbare Carpet” by Kate Heartfield
19. “Green Leaves Don’t Fall” by Stephen Geigen-Miller
20. “Proteus in the City” by Fiona Moore
21. “The Garden” by Darrel Duckworth
22. “One Way Ticket” by Michael Milne
23. “The Rosedale House” by Michael Reid

I’m proud of this anthology and look forward to sharing more of it with you this spring 🙂

 

Post edited on 6/4/2018 to reflect the fact that, due to circumstances beyond my control the Table of Contents has changed slightly.

Fire Table of Contents

I’ve been stoked (heh) about this anthology from the very beginning for all sorts of reasons. First, because it’s the first volume in what I hope will be a new and awesome series. Second, because it’s my first foray into working with Tyche Books. Third, because it’s a super fun theme with tonnes of potential. Fourth — demons, dragons and djinn. I mean, c’mon!

But despite how excited I was there’s this stage that happens with every anthology I work on where I’m absolutely, positively certain that things aren’t going to come together and I’m never going to have a table of contents and even if I do it’s not going to do the thing justice and blah blah blah blah. You know what I’m talking about, if not specifically when it comes to anthologies than about something. It’s like Imposter Syndrome and ‘It’s always shinier in my brain than it is on the page’ had a baby and that baby moved into my brain and is having a never-ending temper tantrum. Yeah. That.

It happens every time.

And every time the baby eventually grows up and moves away and I realise that, actually, I’ve put together something special.

And each anthology is special in its own way.

The Fire baby (man I’m really milking this aren’t I? LOL) moved out quite a long time ago, actually, so I’ve had lots of time to really enjoy this anthology and really appreciate the things about it that make it special.

Fire is special to me for two big reasons.

First, the quality of the stories and their diversity in regard to tone, voice, point of view, theme and style is impressive. By my count, just off the top of my head and going by memory within these twenty-one stories six have demons, six have dragons and three have djinn. Some have all three. Some have none of those. Some are pretty subtle and others couldn’t be more in your face if they tried. There are fire critters I’d never heard of, and stories went in directions I never could have guessed at, and I love that.

Second, there is a fantastic mix between authors I’ve worked with before and those I’m working with for the very first time. Working with people I’ve worked with before is always a bit easier–we’ve been down this road, we know what to expect. It’s comfortable, familiar. We know each other. We might even be friends. And working with new people is exciting, scary and new. I never know exactly how they are going to take my edits, or my sense of humour. In some cases we’ll meet for the first time at a launch, or event. It keeps me on my toes. This anthology has a great mix of comfort and fear… sort of like fire itself.

So without further ado:

Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinn

 

“Magnesium Bright” by Lizbeth Ashton
“Bait” by Krista D. Ball
“Strange Attractor” by Kevin Cockle
“The Midwife and the Phoenix” by J.G. Formato
“The Djinni and the Accountant” by Hal J. Friesen
“Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame” by Chadwick Ginther
“Cold Comfort” by Gabrielle Harbowy
“Aitvaras” by R.W. Hodgson
“The Hatchling” by K.T. Ivanrest
“She Alone” by Blake Jessop
“A Girl, Ablaze with Life” by Claude Lalumière
“Old Flames” by V. F. LeSann
“Light My Fire” by Susan MacGregor
“Double or Nothing” by Mara Malins
“Aladdin’s Laugh” by Damascus Mincemeyer
“Cilantro” by Annie Neugebauer
“Breath of the Caldera” by Wendy Nikel
“Phoenix Rising” by Heather M. O’Connor
“Ring of Fire” by JB Riley
“Permanence” by Dusty Thorne
“The Second Great Fire” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinn will be launched at When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta this August 🙂

The Continuum — Out Today!

The Continuum by Wendy Nikel is out today! If you like time travel adventure you’re in for a treat because this book is exactly that. It’s a super quick read–on account of it’s a fast-paced novella–so even if your TBR pile is truly epic you’ll be able to fit this one into your schedule 🙂

“Nikel’s inventive spin on time travel and eye for sumptuous detail make her writing a treat to read.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Order it now:

World Weaver Press

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes/Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Or ask your local library to add it to their catalogue!

 

Time Travel Week: When would you go?

I had the pleasure of acquiring and editing Wendy Nikel’s time travel novella, The Continuum, for World Weaver Press last year and next week I get to watch it get released into the world. I am very excited to see it get into the hands of readers so I asked Wendy if, to celebrate and sort of lead-up to that happening, we could do something on my blog.

Wendy has been using the hashtag #TimeTravelTues to pose a time travel related question to Twitter for weeks now so over the next few days I’m going to share five of those questions, Wendy’s answer to them, my answer to them… and maybe a short excerpt or two. And I’m curious to know what your answer to the questions would be as well.

Today’s question was… well, it almost broke my brain is what it did LOL

#TimeTravelTues — What historical event would be most interesting to observe? (Observations only! No changing the past!)

“There are two main historical events of the turn of the twentieth century that have fascinated me: the sinking of the Titanic and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. And since one involves the sinking of a ship and tragic loss of life and the other involves Houdini and the first Ferris Wheel, well… one of these obviously makes a better choice for a vacation in the past.”

“Oh dude, I don’t freaking know. A great number of the specific historical periods or events that fascinate me do so in part because of how horrific they were, how brutal. I don’t actually want to experience them. So then I thought, well, maybe I’ll just pick something that happened at a time or place that I’d like to write about, as research. Narrowing that down also proved to be a nightmare… but I’ve been working on a story for over a decade now that involves the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. I shouldn’t want to see that up close and personal, I don’t think, but perhaps the resulting sunsets which are legendary for their vividness all over the world because of the smoke in the air? I think that might be worth a trip to the past for…”

What historical event would you chose to observe?

While you ponder that, here’s one final excerpt from The Continuum before the book comes out on Tuesday. If you enjoy it, consider pre-ordering a copy to support a small press, a skilled author and me. Her editor. 🙂

Excerpt from The Continuum:

The spinning slows. Suddenly, everything stops.

My legs flail, searching for solid ground, until I plunge abruptly into dank, smelly water. I gasp, and my mouth fills with brine. I’m being dragged in one direction, but instinct pulls me the opposite way. I kick against my heavy skirts and break the surface. For one dizzying moment I’m utterly confused. The concrete slabs of the nearby docks sharpen my fuzzy memory.

1912.

Southampton.

The Titanic.

I Extracted while on the gangplank—a gangplank that doesn’t exist in 2012. This is exactly why our travelers are encouraged to use pre-approved Extraction locations. The Wormhole dumps travelers at the same place they’ve left from, which can make for some awkward (or dangerous) entrances.

Across the way, Marie does a frantic doggie-paddle towards the steel rungs leading up to the dock. With labored strokes, I swim after her, clutching the sphere in one hand. When I reach her, she’s still clinging to the bottom rung, too exhausted to climb to safety.

“Hang on.” I slip my Wormhole Device into my handbag and pull my dripping body up to the dock. Water streams out around me, forming a dark puddle on the concrete. The evening sun, balancing on the very edge of the horizon, casts an eerie glow on the water.

“Okay. Come on up—”

My encouragement is drowned out by the sound of retching. Lovely.

 


 

Order it now:

World Weaver Press

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes/Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Or ask your local library to add it to their catalogue!

Time Travel Week: Method of Travel

I had the pleasure of acquiring and editing Wendy Nikel’s time travel novella, The Continuum, for World Weaver Press last year and next week I get to watch it get released into the world. I am very excited to see it get into the hands of readers so I asked Wendy if, to celebrate and sort of lead-up to that happening, we could do something on my blog.

Wendy has been using the hashtag #TimeTravelTues to pose a time travel related question to Twitter for weeks now so over the next few days I’m going to share five of those questions, Wendy’s answer to them, my answer to them… and maybe a short excerpt or two. And I’m curious to know what your answer to the questions would be as well. Please feel free to answer here or on Twitter using the hashtag 🙂

I got to take a journey down nostalgia road as I answered today’s question… and that’s a sort of time travel all its own, eh? 😉

#TimeTravelTues — What’s the best method of time travel?

“In Jack Finney’s novel, Time And Again, the main character Simon Morley uses hypnotism to travel into the past, and I’ve always thought this was a fascinating method of time travel. Unlike many methods, you don’t need a fancy machine or magic potion or high-tech wormhole — just the power of the human mind. I also love that, with this method, time travel could be a skill that anyone could learn.”

“The worst method of time travel has got to be ‘randomly’ such as in The Time Traveler’s Wife, and when I started thinking of the best ways I began with things you go into–Deloreans, TARDISes, phone booths, accidental time machines–but it very quickly became apparant that my favourite methods of time travel involve things you can hold in your hand. Though the time-turner from Harry Potter was a very close second, in the end I had to pick the omni from Voyagers! Because man, did I ever love that show when I was a kid. Here are the opening credits with the omni in case you’ve never seen it:


Order it now:

World Weaver Press

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes/Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Or ask your local library to add it to their catalogue!

Time Travel Week: Modern Invention

I had the pleasure of acquiring and editing Wendy Nikel’s time travel novella, The Continuum, for World Weaver Press last year and next week I get to watch it get released into the world. I am very excited to see it get into the hands of readers so I asked Wendy if, to celebrate and sort of lead-up to that happening, we could do something on my blog.

Wendy has been using the hashtag #TimeTravelTues to pose a time travel related question to Twitter for weeks now so over the next few days I’m going to share five of those questions, Wendy’s answer to them, my answer to them… and maybe a short excerpt or two. And I’m curious to know what your answer to the questions would be as well. Please feel free to answer here or on Twitter using the hashtag 🙂

Today’s question was really, really hard for me…

#TimeTravelTues — What modern invention would be most useful while visiting the past?

“My single-serve French press. Since the first coffee press wasn’t patented until 1929, it seems like it’d be a good idea to have one of those handy if I went adventuring into the past. Like my main character in THE CONTINUUM, Elise, I’m a big fan of my morning cup of joe and think that being able to keep up my morning ritual would make time travel a lot more enjoyable.”

“Ah, dude. I dunno. I guess it depends on how far into the past I’m traveling, and where. I mean, is there electricity? What’s the weather? I’ve often thought one of the most difficult things about living in the days before central heating one of the worst parts of living in a temperate climate would be trying to stay warm in which case a space heater might be lovely, but only if I could power it. Also, indoor plumbing… amirite?”


Excerpt from The Continuum by Wendy Nikel:

I flash my warmest smile and carefully consider my accent before speaking. “I wish to speak with Miss van Grete.”

It isn’t her real name, of course. Not that anyone in 1912 would recognize the twenty-something pop star, but one can never be too careful when touring the past.

“Who’s calling?” the maid asks.

“My name is Elise Morley. Marie and I knew one another in New York, and when I read of her engagement in the paper this morning, I simply had to stop by and congratulate her personally. Is she home?”

I pull the clipping from today’s Daily Telegraph from between the pages of my notebook. It’s proof of the client’s infractions, starting with the fact that she’s still here when she ought to have already returned from her little vacation. When I Jumped back to 1912 New York to Retrieve her, I discovered she’d relocated to London, where she’d somehow convinced an influential businessman that she was his long-lost niece. What’s worse, she also won the heart of a local gentleman, known for his scientific genius and his family’s sizeable fortune.

Her blatant disregard for the Rules is the worst I’ve ever seen.

The maid nudges the door open further, but her slight frame still blocks my view. “Very sorry, miss. She left with her fiancé yesterday. He’s arranged a trip for the two of them as a surprise engagement gift.”

A new hire, then, obviously. Any seasoned domestic servant would know better than to gossip with her employers’ callers.

“Will they return soon?”

“Afraid not. They’re bound for America, so he might ask her father for her hand in marriage face to face.”

Curious, considering her father hasn’t been born yet.

“Of course! How very proper. I do hate that I missed an opportunity to see her, though.” Again, I silently fume. “When do they depart?”

I check my PITTA-issued watch, which displays not only the current time and date, but also the time and date in my own present. April 9. I’m running out of time.

“Noon tomorrow. Out of Southampton.” She beams at me and leans in closer, as if imparting a great secret. “They will be crossing on the Titanic!”

Order it now:

World Weaver Press

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes/Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Or ask your local library to add it to their catalogue!

Time Travel Week: Underrated Movies

I had the pleasure of acquiring and editing Wendy Nikel’s time travel novella, The Continuum, for World Weaver Press last year and next week I get the pleasure of watching it get released into the world. I am very excited to see it get into the hands of readers so I asked Wendy if, to celebrate and sort of lead-up to that happening, we could do something on my blog.

Wendy has been using the hashtag #TimeTravelTues to pose a time travel related question to Twitter for weeks now so over the next few days I’m going to share five of those questions, Wendy’s answer to them, my answer to them… and maybe a short excerpt or two. And I’m curious to know what your answer to the questions would be as well. Please feel free to answer here or on Twitter using the hashtag 🙂

I also recently spontaneously updated the theme on my blog. Turns out that was a bad idea and now I can’t get tables and stuff to work properly. Since changing up this entire website is on the to-do list for this year, though, I’m just going to live with it for now. Which means you get a very, uh, linear style blog post which just seems wrong for something about time travel. Sorry?

#TimeTravelTues — What’s your favorite underrated time travel movie?

“I’m struggling right now. Not because I can’t think of time travel movies that I love, but because I can think of too many of them. And I don’t think many of them are underrated. Uh… okay, it’s a tough call but I’m going to pick Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. For no real reason beyond the fact that I can. I haven’t watched it in probably twenty years but quotable bits from it are entrenched in my vernacular and I just loved its campy, goofy goodness. Be excellent to each other.”

“One highly underrated time travel film that I remember watching as a kid is The Flight of the Navigator. The story revolves around a boy who’s brought forward in time eight years by an alien being. I rewatched it recently and was surprised at how well it held up. I mean, sure, you can tell it was obviously filmed in the mid-eighties, but it’s still a fun and clever story.”


What is your favourite underrated time travel movie? We want to hear about it! Leave a comment, use the hashtag #TimeTravelTues or just hit us up on social media 🙂

Read it now:

World Weaver Press

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes/Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Or ask your local library to add it to their catalogue!

Time Travel Week: Discontinued Items

I had the pleasure of acquiring and editing Wendy Nikel’s time travel novella, The Continuum, for World Weaver Press last year and next week I get the pleasure of watching it get released into the world. I am very excited to see it get into the hands of readers so I asked Wendy if, to celebrate and sort of lead-up to that happening, we could do something on my blog.

Wendy has been using the hashtag #TimeTravelTues to pose a time travel related question to Twitter for weeks now so over the next few days I’m going to share five of those questions, Wendy’s answer to them, my answer to them… and maybe a short excerpt or two. And I’m curious to know what your answer to the questions would be as well. Please feel free to answer here or on Twitter using the hashtag 🙂

#TimeTravelTues — What discontinued item/product would you go back in time to enjoy?

“I was a Starbucks barista during the era of the Tazoberry blended drink (the precursor to the Tazoberry Creme Frappuchino), and I sometimes find myself craving one of those. I’d often make my own with one pump of raspberry syrup, and it was a great drink for a summer afternoon.”

“Back when the live action Flintstone’s movie came out Crush had a limited edition pop flavour called Bedrock Berry. I loved it (especially with cherry whiskey). As I remember it, it was sort of like Tahiti Treat, but not quite. Om nom nom nom!”

Excerpt from The Continuum:

THE PLACE IN TIME TRAVEL AGENCY’S

TEN ESSENTIAL RULES OF TIME TRAVEL

1. Travelers must return to their original era as scheduled.
2. Travelers are prohibited from Jumping to any time they have already experienced.
3. Travel dates must be prior to the traveler’s birth.
4. Travel within the Black Dates is prohibited.*
5. Only pre-approved objects may be taken into the past.
6. Travelers are prohibited from disclosing information about PITTA or its excursions.
7. Travelers are prohibited from disclosing any foreknowledge to people of the past.
8. Travelers must avoid all unnecessary fraternization with people of past eras.
9. Extractions must occur in secure, unobservable locations.
10. After Extraction, clients must immediately return their Wormhole Devices to PITTA headquarters.

*for complete list of Black Dates, see PITTA handbook Appendix B


Care to guess how many of these rules get broken in the book? How about guessing which ones? LOL If you’re not quite feeling adventurous enough to gamble on that, how about just sharing what one discontinued item you would travel to the past for?

Read it now:

World Weaver Press

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes/Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Or ask your local library to add it to their catalogue!

2018 Goals (AKA: The Year of Hydra Slaying)

I generally have a lot of things on the go and what Jane Yolen described as a ‘Magpie energy’ that keeps me flitting from one shiny thing to another so one thing I like to do at the beginning of each year is to set some goals for myself. They provide a sort of framework where I can see all the projects I’ve taken on for the year, which provides some focus to help me zero in and get things done, while at the same time hopefully inspiring continued growth. I share them here on my blog so that I have a sense of accountability.

I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I really find that it helps 🙂

Last year was severely over-scheduled. This year is going to be all about rediscovering work/life balance and not spreading myself so thin. Given that I call my to-do list The Hydra (on account of the fact it is freaking huge and every time I cross something off it two more things seem to sprout up in its place) I’ve decided to dub this year ‘The Year of Hydra Slaying!’ because it sounds a wee bit more dramatic than ‘The Year of Finding Balance and Getting Shit Done’ :-p

My Goals for 2018

  • Write a book
    • I know this is super vague and that’s intentional. I have several ideas tumbling about in my mind and I haven’t settled on one yet.
  • Make at least one blog post a week
  • Read at least forty books, including the rest of the ones on my partial reading list from last year.
  • Increase the number of my books available in libraries
    • I wish I had a more concrete goal to go here, but I still need to figure out what my system is going to be (Am I going to focus on a specific book? If so, which one? Am I going to focus on a specific library location? Where? How much time am I going to dedicate to this?). As I figure out the details I will share them on this blog.
  • Attend the Creative Ink Festival
  • Attend When Words Collide
  • Successfully participate in NovPAD
    • NovPAD is November Poem-A-Day. I haven’t successfully pulled this off in ages, and I miss it.
  • Successfully release the following titles:
    • E is for Evil
    • Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns
    • Tesseracts Twenty-one: Nevertheless
    • Prairie Starport
    • The Other Side of the Door*
    • Magical Menageries Colouring Book*
    • Starry Night (exclusive for mailing list subscribers)
  • Have a successful submissions window for Grimm, Grit and Gasoline
    • Have a Table of Contents decided by the end of the year.
  • Continue in my role as Assistant Editor for World Weaver Press
    • At present this looks like it will include acquiring and/or editing at least three titles.
  • Edit the next book in E.C. Bell’s Marie Jenner books
  • Work on putting together TOC for [Top Sekkrit] anthology
  • Organise a Giftmas Blog Tour
  • Increase my mailing list subscribers by 20%
  • Increase my BookBub followers by 20%

(‘Success’ in regard to launches and submissions windows may sound subjective but I generally set concrete goals for myself when I create my launch plans or begin an open submissions period.)

I have a few other ‘Balance’ related goals as well, which include things like regular face-to-face meetings with friends and spending less time staring at screens, but because they don’t really connect directly to work I’m not going to post them here. But I do want to note I’m setting goals which are quality of life oriented in addition to my work-related ones 🙂 And because fitness counts as work-related because it relates to every-freaking-thing:

  • Create and maintain some sort of routine that encourages more consistent body movement (this may include going to the gym, exercising at home or some other sort of getting off my ass and moving)
    • Successfully run at least three 5k races
    • Continue to use swimming as meditation and do more of it

That’s a lot for someone who is trying to do less this year but a fair amount of the work for the book releases was done in 2017 so I’m optimistic that not only can I pull most of this off (honestly the fitness stuff always has huge question marks around it) but that I can stay sane while doing it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see 😉

 

*Free advance copies to people who donated $40 or more to the 2017 Giftmas Blog Tour